Lots of businesses are turning away customers every day... and they probably don't even realise it.
I've made a few calls over the last few days to travel companies (not all my own holiday research, I have to point out!), and it was incredible the number of the companies that didn't even take my contact details. I could have walked away from them forever.
Here's the range of responses I got:
- Only asking for my name, and not giving out any reference or incentive to call back. It's not hard to ask someone for their email, address or phone number — or to at least ask if they are an existing customer (so you could look up this info). This particular call was regarding what could be a big booking commission-wise I am sure, but the agent doesn't know how to contact me so I could easily never come back!
- Another travel company recognised me by my phone number when I called up (someone's on the ball with the CRM system there), which I thought was great — although they did have a mish-mash of addresses and contact details for me, as I was getting newsletters to my old address and new address, so I helped them fix up their database for them (that's right — I'm a prospective customer and I don't mind admitting it AND helping to fix up the mailing list!).
- One airline didn't really want to help me at all, and just pointed me at their website as it "would be much cheaper" — shame on you! I had already looked at the web site and I wanted a real person to help me as it was an urgent enquiry!! I went back to the web but not to their site...
- Another travel company was helpful and took all my contact details, told me what they were going to do and emailed me with information. It's not hard to find out who your customers and potential customers are as most people are happy to receive an email confirming any product or service they are offered.
So what is the business moral of this story?
Well, if someone is calling your company, it means you've already got them so far down your 'funnel' — they have already identified you as someone who can help with their problem or question, and you should be in the running to sell them your product or service. So what ever you do — find out who the caller is, and keep in touch with them!
If a caller is asking for more information, a price or a quote, get it to them on email, in the post, and not just over the phone... follow up with another email, or call to see if your quote compares with others they may have, or if there are other questions or reasons that they have not yet bought from you. At the very least, get permission to keep them on a newsletter or offers update mailing list, as even if they don't buy now, they may in the future. Each enquiry should go straight into your CRM, and if you can, have an stream of auto messages set up and regular newsletters.
So will the 'no contact details' company get my business?... I can't say for sure yet (as to give them some credit they were very helpful on the phone), as the funny thing is: the very next day, a contender for that holiday sent me their latest offers and newsletter in the post, and it might have just drawn me away in their direction...
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